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Collins, Daprano shine

Jeanne Daprano

Jeanne Daprano

BLOOMINGTON, IND. – Bill Collins etched his name next to a pair of world marks while Jeanne Daprano left little doubt in setting her second world record is as many days as the Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships continued Saturday at the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse on the campus of Indiana University. 

More than 800 athletes ages 30-95+ are competing in the Masters Indoor Championships in preparation for the World Masters Championships, which are scheduled for April 3-8 in Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Daprano established the W75 world record in the mile at 7:13.51 while Collins reached world marks in the M60 60m (7.58) and anchored the Houston Elite M60 4x200m (1:41.53).There were four total world records set Saturday, which included the Athena Track Club in the W50 4x800m (10:38.97).

There were an additional four American records set that included: Donelle Dunning in the M35 60m (6.95); Bob Lida in the M75 60m (8.67); Antonio Palachios in the M45 long jump (6.85m/22-5.75) and Ann Carter in the W70 60m hurdles (12.10).

Collins is back
For Collins the two world records were a true sign that he is completely healed. His journey over the past year left Collins fighting for more than just to continue his career as a masters athlete.

“Ten months ago I couldn’t even walk,” he said. “It’s just so great being back among my masters family. This is truly a blessing.”

Shortly following the Masters Indoor Championships in 2011 Collins contracted GBS, which attacks the nervous system. When GBS works its way into the upper extremities of a human most are left paralyzed. Although left very ill, Collins was fortunate only his lower extremities were affected.

“There were days when I prayed just to walk,” he said. “It was tough because no one knew what was wrong. It’s a tough syndrome. They know little about it and they can’t really treat it. The doctors said that I was lucky.”

Unable to move, Collins shed some 41 pounds and weighed just 119 pounds. Slowly but surely Collins began to gain his strength back. He spent months in the pool before finally beginning to run once again and that was mostly distance work. His slow journey reached its best point in Bloomington.

Following winning the 60m Saturday and setting the world record Collins broke down and cried.

“You don’t know how many lives you have touched until something like that happens,” he said. “Every masters athlete I knew was calling and writing and emailing. That’s what masters is all about. I have won a lot of titles, set a lot of world records and won a lot of world championships, but it doesn’t come close to that.”

Daprano makes it two-for-two
After setting the world record in the 400m Friday, Daprano obliterated the existing W75 mile record of 8:05.93 to set the new mark of 7:13.51.

“I was hoping to get under seven minutes,” Daprano admitted. “I knew what the record was, but I was trying not to focus on it. I am thrilled at what my body is able to do. They don’t run the mile at the World Indoor Championships so this was the only place to get this record. All of the older athletes here I am just thrilled to see how well they are doing.”

Daprano will attempt to make it a hat trick for world records when she attempts the W75 world mark in the 800m Sunday.

Is that record attainable?

“Yes,” she stated simply.

Fast times in men’s mile
Randy Wasinger and Charlie Kern proved Saturday the Masters Indoor Championships feature some talent worthy of open competition. Wasinger ran the fastest mile of the day to claim the event for M35 in 4:25.90 while Charlie Kern claimed top honors in the M40 division in 4:26.19.

For Wasinger his story is unique. His time in the mile Saturday was an all-time personal best for him. A high school distance runner, he wasn’t recruited heavily to race in college and abandoned running until the age of 30. But since a New Year’s resolution in 2007 to begin running once again, Wasinger hasn’t missed more than two days in a row of training.

“I’m not going to stop until I slow down,” he said. “I had this event targeted since last summer. My family has been very supportive and my wife actually got me back into it. With the facilities and everything, the level of competition is really good.”


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